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Encyclopedia > Ring of Gyges
It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Gyges of Lydia. (Discuss)

The Ring of Gyges is a mythical magical artifact mentioned by the philosopher Plato in The Republic. It granted its owner the power to become invisible at will. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Gyges, was the founder of the third or Mermnad dynasty of Lydian kings and reigned from 687 to 652 BC (according to H Gelzer. ... // The word mythology (Greek: μυθολογία, from μύθος mythos, a story or legend, and λόγος logos, an account or speech) literally means the (oral) retelling of myths – stories that a particular culture believes to be true and that use supernatural events or characters to explain the nature of the universe and humanity. ... Magic/magick and sorcery are the influencing of events, objects, people and physical phenomena by mystical or paranormal means. ... This article is about artifacts in fantasy and roleplaying. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... The Republic is an influential dialogue by Plato, written in the first half of the 4th century BC. This Socratic dialogue mainly is about political philosophy and ethics. ... An example of how an object could appear to be invisible through the use of mirrors Invisibility is the state of an object which cannot be seen. ...


The legend

According to the legend, Gyges of Lydia was a shepherd in the service of King Candaules of Lydia. After an earthquake, a cave was revealed in a mountainside where Gyges was feeding his flock. Entering the cave, Gyges discovered that it was in fact the tomb of an enthroned corpse who wore a golden ring, which Gyges pocketed. Gyges, was the founder of the third or Mermnad dynasty of Lydian kings and reigned from 687 to 652 BC (according to H Gelzer. ... In a draw in a mountainous region, a shepherd guides a flock of about 20 sheep amidst scrub and olive trees. ... Candaules (Κανδαυλης) was a king of the ancient Kingdom of Lydia from 735 BC to 718 BC. He succeeded Meles and was followed by Gyges. ... Lydia (Greek ) is a historic region of western Anatolia, congruent with Turkeys modern provinces of İzmir and Manisa. ... An earthquake is a phenomenon that results from and is powered by the sudden release of stored energy in the crust that propagates seismic waves. ... Lechuguilla Cave, New Mexico This article is about natural caves; for artificial caves used as dwellings, such as those in north China, see yaodong. ... A tomb is a small building (or vault) for the remains of the dead, with walls, a roof, and (if it is to be used for more than one corpse) a door. ... The thrones for The Queen of Canada, and the Duke of Edinburgh in the Canadian Senate, Ottawa is usually occupied by the Governor General and her spouse at the annual State Opening of Parliament. ... With regard to living things, a body is the integral physical material of an individual, and contrasts with soul, personality and behavior. ... General Name, Symbol, Number gold, Au, 79 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 11, 6, d Appearance metallic yellow Atomic mass 196. ... A finger ring is a metal band worn as an ornament around a finger; it is the most common current meaning of the word ring. ...

Gyges then returned to his fellow shepherds, and began fumbling with the ring that he now wore. Gyges discovered that when he turned the collet of the ring to the inside of his hand, he became invisible to the other shepherds, and they began to marvel as if he had vanished. He turned the ring the other way, and he reappeared; after several trials, he determined that the ring was indeed very magical, and gave him the power to turn invisible at will.

Gyges then arranged to be chosen one of the messengers who reported to the king as to the status of the flocks. Arriving at the palace, Gyges used his new power of invisibility to seduce the queen, and with her help he murdered the king, and became king of Lydia himself. King Croesus, famous for his wealth, was Gyges' descendant. It has been suggested that womanizer be merged into this article or section. ... Croesus Croesus (IPA pronunciation: , CREE-sus) was the king of Lydia from 560/561 BC until his defeat by the Persians in about 547 BC. The English name Croesus come from the Latin transliteration of the Greek , in Arabic and Persian قارون, Qârun. ...

The moral of the story

In The Republic, Plato puts the tale of the ring of Gyges in the mouth of Glaucon, who uses it to make the point that no man is so virtuous that he could resist the temptation of being able to steal at will by the ring's power of invisibility. In contemporary terms, Glaucon argues that morality is a social construction, whose source is the desire to maintain one's reputation for virtue and honesty; when that sanction is removed, moral character would evaporate: Personification of virtue (Greek ἀρετή) in Celsus Library in Ephesos, Turkey Virtue (Latin virtus; Greek ) is moral excellence of a person. ... Morality refers to the concept of human ethics which pertains to matters of good and evil —also referred to as right or wrong, used within three contexts: individual conscience; systems of principles and judgments — sometimes called moral values —shared within a cultural, religious, secular, Humanist, or philosophical community; and codes... A social construction, social construct or social concept is an institutionalized entity or artifact in a social system invented or constructed by participants in a particular culture or society that exists solely because people agree to behave as if it exists, or agree to follow certain conventional rules. ...

Suppose now that there were two such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other; no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a God among men. Then the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust; they would both come at last to the same point. And this we may truly affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any good to him individually, but of necessity, for wherever any one thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust. For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are right. If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another's, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another's faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice.
— Plato's Republic, book 2 (Benjamin Jowett trans.)

However, in the dialogue Socrates goes on to explain that justice would not be defined by just this social construct; the man who abused the power of the Ring of Gyges has become morally bankrupt and suffered irreparable failings of character, while a man that chose willingly not to use it is at least at peace with himself. Benjamin Jowett (April 15, 1817 – October 1, 1893) was an English scholar and theologian, Master of Balliol College, Oxford. ...

Later adaptations of the tale

Plato's story has been retold or adapted by several authors, both ancient and modern.

Xanthos the Lydian

Although Xanthos the Toker did not mention the ring, he told about a female slave who helped Gyges to usurp the Lydian throne. His version survived in the work of Nicolaus of Damascus. Nicolaus of Damascus (Nikolāos Damaskēnos) was a Greek historical and philosophical writer who lived in the Augustan Age. ...

Ptolemaios Chemmos

The works of Ptolemaios Chemmos unfortunately have not survived in extant, but Photios and Tzetzes quoted his version of the Ring myth and the Suda, a Byzantine dictionary, refers to him. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Suda (Σουδα or alternatively Suidas) is a massive 10th century Byzantine Greek historical encyclopædia of the ancient Mediterranean world. ... What Up. ...

During the reign of the emperors Hadrian and Trajan, he wrote a treatise on paradoxical or new histories. In his version of the story, the queen sees Gyges hidden behind the door of the bedroom because she was in possession of a ring that originated from a dragon or worm. She gives the ring to Gyges to murder the king. Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus (January 24, 76–July 10, 138), known as Hadrian in English, was Roman emperor from 117–138, and a member of the gens Aelia. ... : Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus (September 18, 53–August 9, 117), Roman Emperor (98–117), commonly called Trajan, was the second of the Five Good Emperors of the Roman Empire. ...

Chrétien de Troyes

The character Lunette gives the title hero a ring of invisibility patterned after the Ring of Gyges in the story of Yvain, or, The Knight with the Lion by Chrétien de Troyes: In architecture, a lunette (diminutive of French lune, moon) is a half-moon shaped space, either masonry or void. ... Yvain rescues the lion Yvain, the Knight of the Lion (French: Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion) is a romance by Chrétien de Troyes. ... Chrétien de Troyes wrote in Champagne, France, during the last half of the twelfth century. ...

"Please take this little ring of mine, which you will return when I shall have delivered you." Then she handed him the little ring and told him that its effect was like that of the bark which covers the wood so that it cannot be seen; but it must be worn so that the stone is within the palm; then he who wears the ring upon his finger need have no concern for anything; for no one, however sharp his eyes may be, will be able to see him any more than the wood which is covered by the outside bark.

Unlike the Ring of Gyges, however, the ring of invisibility in Yvain does not corrupt the character of its user. Yvain uses the ring to secretly observe the widow of a knight whom he had recently slain, and whom he is later to marry, in de Troyes' tale. But these events take place within the conventions of courtly love and its themes of unrequited love and stylized adultery; as such, no disparagement of Yvain's character is meant by these actions in de Troyes' tale. Sir Yvain is the name of several of King Arthurs knights of the Round Table, the most famous of which are the brothers: Sir Yvain, and Sir Yvain the Bastard There is also Chrétien de Troyes romance Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, about the first of the... The silver Anglia knight, commissioned as a trophy in 1850, intended to represent the Black Prince. ... Court of Love in Provence in the 14th Century (after a manuscript in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris). ...

J.R.R. Tolkien

The Ring of Gyges is one literary source of the One Ring that appears in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings; like the ring of Gyges, the One Ring grants the power of invisibility, and corrupts the character of those who possess it. The One Ring, also known as The Ruling Ring, or the Great Ring of Power, is an artifact from J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional Middle-earth universe. ... John Ronald Reuel Tolkien CBE (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer and university professor who is best known as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. ... The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by J. R. R. Tolkien. ...

Stealing magic from the dead

The motif of discovering a magical artifact upon the body of an enthroned corpse in a tomb is also a frequently recurring story type. It occurs, for instance, in the Doctor Who story The Five Doctors (1983) in which those who can survive the ordeal believe they are being offered Rassilon's, the first Time Lord, ring of cellular regeneration but instead receive a cursed immortality taking residence on his sarcophagous. Similarly at the beginning of the 1982 movie Conan the Barbarian the character Conan reverently retrieves a sword from the hands of a royal corpse in a kurgan. Doctor Who is a long-running British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC about a mysterious time-travelling adventurer known as The Doctor, who explores time and space with his companions, fighting evil. ... The Five Doctors was a special movie-length episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, produced in celebration of the programmes twentieth anniversary. ... Rassilon is a fictional character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. ... This article is about the Time Lords from Doctor Who. ... 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Conan The Barbarian is a 1982 film by director John Milius and is recognized as the acting breakthrough of bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. ... Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet. ... Kurgan is a Türkic word for tumulus, burial mound or barrow, heaped over a burial chamber, or a kurgan cenotaph. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Ring of Gyges - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (946 words)
The Ring of Gyges is a mythical magical artifact mentioned by the philosopher Plato in The Republic.
The Ring of Gyges is one literary source of the One Ring that appears in J.
Plato's Republic: The Ring of Gyges by Bernard Suzanne
The Cursed Ring - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (570 words)
The Cursed Ring is a structure of ideas which Danish author Peter Kjaerulff believes to found to be behind Plato's "The Ring of Gyges" (mentioned in Plato's Republic), Richard Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" and J.
At the center of the Cursed Ring lies the deep notion that the human being is utterly and desperately alone (as also suggested by Tolkien's "One Ring").
The ideas can be likened to rings, because they confirm themselves; if you believe that it is not possible to communicate with the other sex, there's no need to challenge the assumption, because "it is not possible to communicate with the other sex".
  More results at FactBites »



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